As it is with most mobile games, Pokémon Go also primarily revolves around timers that must expire before players can reap benefits. However, the twist put in by Niantic Labs is that players must get off their couches to cover distance in the real world in order to gain access to rewards.
With a game that has captured the attention of millions of players, it was only natural for coders to come up with “Bots” and other third-party add-ons to fool the game into expiring those timers faster. Hence, distance that would perhaps take you a week to cover in your normal routine can be accomplished overnight.
In the start, many players were reported to be using GPS spoofing to track down monsters without wasting time scouring neighborhoods. Surprisingly, Niantic Labs was well aware of the situation and instantly began handing out soft bans. While most have said the duration to be about 2-3 hours, there are many others who have suffered longer bans. Interestingly, the developer chose to hand these temporary bans out in silence. Many are not even aware of their bans; coming on forums to report that they are suddenly unable to capture Pokémon, or that the GPS tracker jumps around too much for them to pin down any Pokémon’s location.
This was at the start. In the current situation, various users have released sophisticated Pokémon Go Bots that are being improved with feedback. These are essentially your Pokémon Go cheats/hacks, allowing users to enjoy the comforts of their homes while the Bot plays the game on its own. These Bots can track down and catch Pokémon on their own without the aid of human players. Additionally, it cuts down your job of covering distance in the real world.
Niantic Labs has admitted that it currently has no way to prevent users from taking advantage of illegal third-party add-ons. That being said, the studio does not take cheating lightly. Many users have begun revealing online that their main accounts have been permanently banned. Others have begun resorting to using temporary accounts to test out Bots, while coders are trying to keep improving their add-ons to completely fool the game.
The few permanent bans right now are probably a test on the part of Niantic. The developer most probably plans to release an update in a few weeks that will drop the ban hammer and clean out everyone in a single wave. For a game with millions of players, it will be interesting to see just how many have tried their luck with Bots.